Neko Case, known primarily for her work in the New Pornographers, is also a very established solo artist who has released a few critically acclaimed albums in the alt-country department. As established as she may be, she's still managed to stay relatively under the radar to the mainstream music scene and while she has quite a large following, has yet to burst into super stardom. That being said, her latest release "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" may have what it takes to take her to that next level. It could very well be her most well put together and unique set of songs to date, and may be her most accomplished work.
And just what makes Ms. Case such a unique artist? It's not exactly easy to pinpoint, but she has that something that many female solo artists do not. She has that unique, splendid voice that catches the listeners ear. She has that charisma, the humor, the eccentric-ness. She has passion, she has it all. Sometimes she sounds classic, like a voice straight from country music long ago. She's quite a wonderful talent, and this is where all of her hard work and impeccable writing skills have finally come together to their fullest potential. This album is her career defining moment.
There's a lot to like here, as the album starts with a beautiful track "Margaret vs. Pauline." Gently strummed chords and then Case's swooning vocals come in, echoing gently over top the music. Sung so smoothly, calmly. Swift and angelic. Yet not over the top. She doesn't show off, she just carries her voice throughout the song in a mellow, restrained fashion. Later some tinkling piano and other various instruments come in and top off a short but sweet introduction to a most magnicent album.
This spaced out, mellow and western feel carries itself throughout the album. There are some genuine country hits here that would put Patsy Cline to shame. "Star Witness" is a perfect example of this. This song sounds like a classic right from the start. And that's what Case does best, right great songs, some of which that hint towards sheer greatness. "Hold On, Hold On" is another song that shows off her abilities and I could see this song being a smash radio hit, if only people would grasp onto it and give it a shot.
While a lot of the album is alt-country at it's finest, it does not stick to this formula by any means. Just take a listen to "John Saw That Number", a surprising gospel-influenced song. She pulls it off though, no worries about that. It's actually one of the more interesting tracks on the album. And if you want to hear Ms. Case reach her pinnacle emotional vocal high, listen to the buildup to "Maybe Sparrow". A most beautiful moment and definately one of the my favorite parts.
These are just a few of the more standout tracks on the album, but as a whole this album flows very nicely. If you're looking for something trance inducing, beautiful, and catchy all at the same time, look no further than this beautiful peice of work right here. It's a modern mastpiece influenced by country and folk of old. It's a hybrid of all her musical influences, relevant in all her songs and integrated together without sounding forceful or redundant. It's genuine and truthful, and one of the better albums of the last few years. Take a listen, I am sure you will not be dissappointed. The only weakness is it comes up a tad bit short in the length department. A small downfall to an otherwise great listen.